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Idaho Driver's Licenses
and Identification Cards


Who needs a driver’s license?

Anyone who operates a motor vehicle on the public roads in Idaho is required to have a valid driver's license.

When moving to Idaho you will need to apply for an Idaho driver’s license within 90 days of residing in Idaho, whether your out-of-state license has expired or not. If you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you are required to be licensed in Idaho within 30 days of residing in Idaho.

Students attending a college or university in Idaho and members of the U.S. Military on active duty and their dependents who hold a valid driver’s license from another state and who claim residency in that state, are not required to obtain an Idaho driver’s license.

Who cannot be issued an Idaho driver's license?

An Idaho driver's license cannot be issued to anyone who:
  • Is not a resident of the state of Idaho
  • Is not lawfully present in the United States
  • Is under the age of 15
  • Is under the age of 17 and has not completed the requirements of Idaho's graduated driver's license program
  • Is under the age of 18 and is not enrolled in school or has not completed school as required in Section 49-303A, Idaho Code
  • Has a suspended, revoked, or canceled status in Idaho or any other jurisdiction
  • Has been adjudged as an habitual drunkard or addicted to the use of narcotics
  • Has been adjudged as suffering from mental incompetence that would affect a person's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle and who at the time of application has not been restored to competency
  • May be afflicted with any physical or mental condition which brings about momentary or prolonged lapses of consciousness or control
  • Is required to take an examination and has not passed the examination

What is the “One License Law?”

When applying for an Idaho Class D driver’s license, you must surrender any driver’s license or ID card issued to you from another state, U. S. Territory, Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia. You do not need to surrender a driver’s license issued in a foreign country. However, once you are issued an Idaho driver’s license, you are not allowed to use or show your foreign license for the purpose of operating a motor vehicle. If you are applying for an Idaho Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), you must surrender any license(s) issued to you by any jurisdiction(s).

Where do I get a driver's license or Identification Card?

Idaho driver's licenses, instruction permits, or identification cards are issued through the county sheriff's offices. You may apply at the sheriff's driver licensing office most convenient to you.

What do I need to bring with me?

Bring the applicable items from the list below. Following the list is detailed information about each item.
  1. Proof of Age and Identity
  2. Social Security Card or Number for Verification
  3. Proof of Idaho Residency
  4. Acceptable Lawful Presence Documents (if applicable)
  5. Foreign Driver’s License (if applicable)
  6. Visual/Medical Certification (if applicable)
  7. Driver Training Completion (if under 17)
  8. Liability Signer (if under 18)
  9. Verification of School Compliance – VOC (if under 18)
Below is detailed information regarding the above items:

1. Proof of Age and Identity
Driver’s license examiners are required by law to verify your age and identity before issuing you a driver’s license or ID card. If you have a valid state-issued driver’s license or state-issued ID card (with photo) to surrender that contains your full legal name and date of birth, that will be sufficient to prove age and identity. Photocopies or faxes of these documents will not be accepted.

If you do not have a valid state-issued driver’s license or state-issued ID card (with photo), you will need to provide a U.S. certified birth certificate and an acceptable photo identity document from Table 1 below. If the birth certificate does not match your current name (such as maiden name vs. married name) a secondary document, such as a marriage certificate, from Table 2 below will be needed.

Note: “Foreign Nationals” can provide a foreign passport in lieu of the U.S. certified birth certificate. In compliance with the National Driver’s License Agreement, the foreign passport is the only acceptable document to provide proof of legal name and date of birth. To establish identity a foreign national will need a valid foreign passport and acceptable lawful presence document.

Table 1 - Acceptable Photo Identity Documents (other than state-issued driver’s licenses and IDs)

  • Acceptable valid Department of Homeland Security (DHS) photocard/document

  • U.S. Military ID card or U.S. Retired Military card

  • U.S. Military Dependent’s card

  • U.S. Passport or U.S. Passport card

  • Original citizenship/naturalization document

  • Foreign passport

  • Concealed Weapons Permit issued by the state of Idaho not expired for one year or more

  • Veteran’s Universal Access Card, with photo

  • Native American ID card, with photo

Table 2 below contains acceptable secondary documents that can be used to assist in confirming your identity. Secondary documents alone are not sufficient. These documents must contain your name and enough information to establish proof of all or part of what is contained on the primary document from Table 1 above.

Table 2 – Acceptable Secondary Identity Documents
  • Certified court name change document
  • Certified marriage certificate meeting Idaho standards with seal and document number showing that it was recorded
  • Certified divorce document from a court or state vital records
  • Guardianship or custody documents, notarized or court certified
  • Junior or senior high school (not college or university) photo card
  • Junior or senior high school, college or military yearbook/annual
  • U.S. Military discharge paper (Form # DD214)
  • Idaho Department of Corrections photo ID card
  • Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections photo ID card

NOTE: Either the primary document from Table 1 or the secondary document from Table 2 must contain a photo of you.
All documents submitted must be acceptable to the examiner or the Idaho Transportation Department.

2. Social Security Card or Number for Verification
Bring your Social Security Number or the original card issued by the Social Security Administration. Your Social Security Number will be verified. It will not be printed on your Idaho driver’s license or ID card.

If you do not have a Social Security Number, you may still apply for a driver’s license or ID card if you provide a letter from the Social Security Administration stating that you do not have a Social Security Number. You will be required to provide proof of lawful presence in the United States.

3. Proof of Idaho Residency
You must reside inside Idaho’s borders to be issued an Idaho driver’s license or ID card. You will be required to show proof of residency with documents such as lease or rental agreements, utility bills, employment records, school enrollment records, etc. Your home address (where you live) cannot be your workplace, vacation residence, or a part-time residence.

4. Acceptable Lawful Presence Documents (if applicable)
Individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States are not eligible for an Idaho driver’s license or ID card. Proof of lawful presence may be required for a new issuance or renewal, if you have not previously provided proof of U.S. citizenship or ITD does not have record of it. Acceptable lawful presence documents include:
  • Certified original U.S. Birth Certificate
  • Certificate of Birth Abroad
  • Original Certificate of Naturalization/Citizenship
  • Permanent Resident card or Resident-Alien Card
  • Employment Authorization card
  • Valid Foreign passport and I-94 (Arrival/Departure record)
If you are not a citizen or permanent legal resident of the United States the expiration date on your driver’s license will be the same date as your end of lawful stay in the United States as indicated on your documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security or four years, whichever is less. If your Department of Homeland Security documents do not show an expiration date, the expiration date on the driver’s license will be one year from the date of issuance of the driver’s license.

5. Other State or Foreign Driver’s License (if applicable)
If you are a foreign driver from any country other than Mexico or Canada, holding a temporary work visa for the United States, you may apply for an Idaho non-resident commercial instruction permit or CDL, and you do not have to surrender your home country license. If you become a permanent legal resident or citizen of the United States and resident of Idaho, you must surrender the non-resident CDL and any other licenses to receive a regular CDL without retesting unless you are upgrading your CDL or are adding endorsements.

If you are from Canada or Mexico you are not allowed to purchase a non-resident CDL. Canadian and Mexican CDL holders are only required to surrender their license if they change their permanent residence from their country of origin to the United States. If they reside in Idaho they can apply for an Idaho CDL. In order to comply with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) requirements, if the license you are surrendering was issued in Mexico or Canada you must provide a driving record no older than 30 days.

Class D – If you are applying for an Idaho Class D (non-commercial) driver’s license and have not been issued a CDL in any jurisdiction, you are not required to surrender your foreign license or provide a driving record. However, an agreement with Korea requires that the Korean driver’s license be surrendered if a driving skills test is not taken.

6. Visual/Medical Certification (if applicable)
If you have a visual and/or medical condition that could affect your driving, you may be required to provide a statement from your physician certifying that you can operate a vehicle safely. The necessary form may be obtained from the driver’s license examiner at your County Driver’s License office.

If you have questions regarding any physical or mental condition that may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle, contact your County Driver’s License office.

If you have had eye surgery to improve your vision, the restriction on your driver’s license may need to be removed. Contact your County Driver’s License office for more information.

7. Driver Training Completion (if under 17)
If you are under 17 years old, you must provide proof that you have completed an approved driver-training program. You must also provide proof that the supervised instruction permit requirement has been met. (See the driver training section of this manual for more information about these requirements.)

8. Liability Signer (if under 18)
If you are under 18 years old, you need to have a birth parent or legal guardian with you to sign consent for you to be licensed. The signer assumes legal responsibility for your actions as a driver. If the liability signer is not the mother or father listed on your birth certificate, you must provide acceptable legal documents (e.g. adoption records or court guardianship documents). The identity of the liability signer will be verified. If the signer’s name is different from the one appearing on your birth certificate, additional documents such as a marriage license or divorce decree may be required to verify relationship. If the liability signer cannot be present to sign the application at the county office, the liability signer must complete a power of attorney form giving another person authority to sign for him or her. If you are married, your spouse, who must be at least 18 years of age, may sign for you. As long as you are under 18, the person who signs for you may withdraw consent at any time, which will cause the department to cancel your driver’s license.

9. Verification of School Compliance – VOC (if under 18)
If you are under 18 years old you will need to provide acceptable proof of enrollment and attendance in or graduation from a recognized high school or equivalent program. This proof can be in the form of a verification of compliance slip from an acceptable school or program you are attending, a high school diploma, or a general education certificate of completion. When signing the liability statement, your parent(s) must also sign a statement that you are in compliance with the school attendance provisions of Idaho Code.

What tests will I need to take?

Vision Screening - Your vision will be tested and you must meet a minimum standard of 20/40 vision in at least one eye, with or without corrective lenses. If you wear glasses or contacts during the screening, a lens restriction will be placed on your driver’s license. If the lens restriction is placed on your driver’s license, you must always wear your glasses or contacts when operating a vehicle or you could be cited and lose your driving privileges for a period of time.

Written Knowledge Test - If you are a new applicant for an Idaho driver’s license or your Idaho driver’s license has been expired for more than 25 months, you will be tested on your knowledge of Idaho traffic laws, highway signs by shape and symbol, traffic signals, pavement marking, and equipment required on motor vehicles.

Skills Test—A skills test is required for any applicant:
  • who has never been licensed before,
  • who has completed driver’s training and the supervised instruction period,
  • whose license has been expired for 25 months or more,
  • who presents or surrenders a driver’s license issued by a foreign country (except Germany and Korea), or
  • whose vision does not meet minimum standards.

A skills test may also be required for any applicant:
  • having any mental or physical impairment that might affect the safe operation of a motor vehicle,
  • when an examiner has concerns about the applicant’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle, regardless of prior license, experience, or age.

What if I want to use a name other than the one appearing on my current driver’s license, ID card, or on other documents that I present for identity purposes?

You will need to provide one or more of the following certified documents, dated after the current record, as acceptable proof of a legal name change:
  • Certified marriage certificate(s) meeting Idaho standards
  • Certified divorce document(s)
  • Adoption record
  • Court name-change documents(s)

When can I renew my license?

You may renew your Idaho driver’s license in person up to 25 months before the expiration date. A Class D license renewal is valid for either four years or eight years. If you are between the ages of 21 and 62, you may choose the eight-year renewal. Your vision will be checked, and if the examiner thinks it is necessary, a skills test, visual examination, and/or medical examination may be requested. If your driver’s license has been expired for 25 months or more, you will be required to take the written knowledge test and the skills test. If your CDL is expired for 25 months or more and you wish to retain CDL privileges, you will need to take the written knowledge test for class D, all written tests pertinent to the CDL, and a skills test in the class of vehicle that matches the class of CDL you are applying for.

What else should I know?

Donor Designation - If you are 18 years of age or older, you may request to have the “DONOR” designation appear on your license or ID card. The designation identifies your wish to donate your organs and/or tissues upon your death to those waiting for transplants. If you want to make limitations, change, or update your donor status, you may do so at or call 1-866-YES-IDAHO.

Selective Service Registration - Federal law requires all males who are 18 to 25 years of age to register with the Selective Services System. Eligible males will have the opportunity to register when they apply for a driver’s license or ID card.

Additionally, the Selective Service System receives notification of all applicants who decline the opportunity to register.

Address Change - Idaho law requires you to notify the DMV of any address change no more than 30 days after the move. Keeping your address current with the department helps assure that you will receive notifications to renew your driver's license by mail (if you qualify) and also receive any other important correspondence, such as notices of suspension. It also allows law enforcement personnel to notify you or your family if there is an emergency.

This fact sheet does not discuss all of the eligibility requirements. For further information, please consult the Idaho Driver's Manual.

This fact sheet paraphrases the language of the Idaho Motor Vehicle Code and the Idaho Driver's Manual. Courts go by the actual language of the Code, not this text.

If you have any questions,
contact your local County Sheriff's (driver's license) office or the Idaho Transportation Department / Driver Services at

PO Box 7129,
Boise, ID 83707-1129

Or browse our web page at:
Page Last Modified: 12/8/2014 2:34:07 PM

Division of Motor Vehicles / Driver Services Section
(208) 334-8736

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Idaho Transportation Department
3311 W. State Street · P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707-1129